The status and possible future of international collaboration in Antarctic research between Korea and New Zealand.
Thesis DisciplineAntarctic Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Antarctic Studies
The Antarctic Treaty celebrates and safeguards the idea of international collaboration, which includes the encouragement to share infrastructure and information between Parties to the Antarctic Treaty and, consequently, also between National Antarctic Programmes. Antarctic research is considered the currency of the Antarctic Treaty System. Especially in the early years after the Antarctic Treaty entered into force, some Parties saw Antarctic research as a way to obtain more power and influence in Antarctic affairs. Attitudes have now changed, and international collaboration is high on the agenda for Antarctic Treaty Parties. This development has been stimulated significantly by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), which conducted a comprehensive Antarctic and Southern Ocean Horizon Scan to agree on 80 important research questions that need to be addressed over next two decades. The Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) followed SCAR’s Horizon Scan with the Antarctic Roadmap Challenge (ARC) project, which aims at identifying the most appropriate and feasible methods to address the Horizon Scan questions as well as assessing national capabilities and the required logistics in support of research pursuing these questions. The SCAR Horizon Scan and COMNAP’s ARC project provide the basis for an Antarctic research agenda and both emphasise that international collaboration is absolutely essential to address the complex questions posited by the Horizon Scan. Some Antarctic Treaty Parties have a long history of collaboration, both logistically and scientifically, such as New Zealand and the USA. New Zealand has a relatively partnership with the Republic of Korea, which goes back to the time of the Korean War. However, in the Antarctic realm, this partnership remains to be small-scale and based on connections between individual researchers.
This dissertation explores the framework within which New Zealand’s and the Republic of Korean’s Antarctic collaboration unfolds in order to seek to understand why their Antarctic collaboration is not more advanced. To achieve this, the Korean Antarctic research landscape is being analysed, and Korean perspectives, motivations and thinking with regard to the Korean Antarctic Programme are discussed. In Korea, multiple institutions have shown their interest in Antarctic research by making investments in Antarctic infrastructure and research capacity. Whilst the willingness to collaborate with international players, including New Zealand, is expressed by different players in the Korean Antarctic Programme, and while similar sentiments are being voiced by New Zealand’s Antarctic Research Programme, a lack of understanding of the values and modi operandi of the other programme hinder more effective collaboration.
This dissertation contributes a detailed glance into what drives the Korean Antarctic Programme, and also offers a glimpse of how the Chinese Antarctic Programme operates, to facilitate an improved awareness of the different perspectives and approaches taken by these influential Asian players within New Zealand and, thereby, to assist in strengthening the collaboration between the Korean and New Zealand Antarctic Programmes.